Hopkins Papers

The Chinese Foreign Minister ( Soong ) to President Roosevelt 1

Dear Mr. President, Much as I dislike to impose on your time at this moment, I am very anxious about the decision on the Generalissimo’s request to devote the entire India–China air transport capacity in the next three months to air supplies.2

All the complicated factors in the China theatre call for immediate remedial action. It is the considered judgement of the Generalissimo as the responsible commander of the theatre that this can only be achieved by an immediate air offensive, both to strike at the enemy air force and shipping, and to support the Chinese ground forces.

With the limited air freight capacity at present available, no half way measures are possible. May I add my own personal plea that the Generalissimo’s views will prevail, as I am convinced that the facts will support no other conclusion.

I hope you will understand the deep anxiety which leads me to send you these few words.

Very sincerely yours,

Tse Vun Soong
  1. The source text is in Soong’s handwriting.
  2. Chiang’s request had been contained in a message to Roosevelt transmitted in a note of April 29, 1943, from Soong to Hopkins; for the text, see Romanus and Sunderland, pp. 319–320. According to the same source (p. 326), Roosevelt had sent a letter to Chiang on May 4, 1943, pointing out the disadvantages of diverting the total tonnage of the ferry line to serve only the needs of the air offensive. For an account of the discussions in Washington during the first few days of May 1943 regarding Chiang’s request, see ibid., pp. 320326.